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IBM selectric typewriter turns 50.

The typewriter was introduced on July 31, 1961. A highly successful electric typewriter that eventually captured 75 percent of the United States market for electric typewriters used in business. It wouldn’t be a stretch to state that for many small offices the Selectric was their first equipment purchase. The innovative Selectric replaced the traditional typewriter’s moving carriage with a paper roller (“platen”) that stayed in position while a typeball (below) and ribbon mechanism moved from side to side.

ibm selectric typeballs.

Typeballs were a new typesetting technology used by the IBM Selectric typewriters. When the typewriter was operated, the typeball rotated to select the right letter, followed by striking the paper. The typeballs could be changed to select different fonts and characters, making it ideal for use in the printing industry and marking the start of desktop publishing.

selectric typewriter museum

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#1 Bernhard Blauel UNITED KINGDOM on 08.02.11 at 4:43 pm

This is one of the iconic pieces of our youth. I never owned one but you have no idea how we turned this beautiful beast to good use. Never mind its good looks, its technology was awesome for its time. It helped educate a whole generation, disseminate ideas like no Adler and Gestetner could. Until its ugly brothers Commodore and Amstrad arrived..

#2 joann CANADA on 09.23.14 at 4:45 pm

‘Re these worth anything today?

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